Pardon me -- I’m having a moment. I’m numb over this sudden, mind-blowing breakthrough. After having endured so much, I became acquainted with near success syndrome only to get really close and then…failure. It was something I identified with for so long, it became second nature. My only outlet for relief was simply basking in His presence. My worship meant I kept rehearsing His deity and sovereignty despite my present reality. I kept going over His promises whether logos or rhema -- I had them right at the tip of my tongue because I really believed Him. Worship to me meant that I would soak in His presence and sing songs to Him because He’s God – and not a man -- He cannot lie. The longer I lingered, the longer He stayed. In every waking moment, I could be totally honest and unashamed. He knew my business inside out. He had better recollection of my drama than I. He is definitely my air, water, food, shelter, mother, father, friend, guide, physician, attorney, defender, peace, covering – the relationship is inexhaustible. I’m so comfortable with Him. There’s no fear in Him. Gratitude runs like water within because I know that if it hadn’t been for Him on my side, certainly I would have been swallowed up from the attacks of my opponent.
Looking back in retrospect, the question of ‘why’ surfaced. I’ve got a comfort level established with Him. My posture is reverence towards Him for His unfathomable grace. Granted, I’m now in a place where I’ve overcome some mind-boggling obstacles – I know the real deal. There are some things that only He could deliver me from -- and He did just that. Situations I’ve faced would make the probability of overcoming almost zilch. It would cause most to not even attempt to guess but rather hang their heads low with little to no hope. Yet, I’m alive and now graced to not only tell my story but now I’m reaping rewards of great favor and success. Still -- there’s a stream of ‘why’ questions that hang over my head. Why--me? Why was I born? Why was I chosen? What was the significance of being born in a certain place and time to those particular parents? Why….that culture? Why was I subject to certain proclivities? Why was I exposed to such turmoil and harm? Why am I this specific ethnicity and, why was I raised under such circumstances? Why did I live and not die? Why is my skin color this particular shade? Why is my hair this texture? Why didn’t I end up in jail? Why didn’t I end up on the streets selling my body? Why didn’t I become an alcoholic? Why didn’t that case of sexual molestation make me go crazy? Why didn’t I just jump and end it all? Why did God preserve me? Why? The question ‘why’ has great relevance. Soon enough, God would settle my questions of ‘why’ and grant insight to my process. He had intel on my purpose and destiny that was predetermined before I entered the earth. Birthing anything of world-changing significance would certainly require going through much pain and disappointment. Thing is, I had no clue of how much and for how long.
It bears my asking because now I’ve come to a place of humility and awakening over God’s great love for me. The ‘why’ questions took on definition that provided explanation. My identity is now secured. I’ve experienced a healing which has led to a path of success. I sigh with gratefulness in my heart. I had to come to terms with myself – I am not ordinary. There’s a deep knowing in my knower that if it were not for God’s grace, all possible, negative options would have been my fate. I am fully persuaded that God planned my purpose and destiny long before I entered the earth. I resumed to talking to myself again. ‘Yes, you carry yourself well. You’re super smart. You’ve got influence. You stand strong and public opinion says that you’re an amazing game-changer; you’re on the path to huge success. But, you know all too well that absent God’s grace and mercy, there would be no success in your today, tomorrow or future.’
I searched for Biblical examples of those that started at rock-bottom nothing. God is intentional about using misfits. He’s known for choosing the least likely to succeed all the time. God is famous for choosing men and women who were the underdogs and originated from not so well-to-do upbringings. He chose Esther, a poor, little orphan girl who was adopted by her cousin Mordecai who raised her as his own daughter. Eventually, Esther because of the favor of God, became Persia’s queen -- succeeding Queen Vashti, who brought national embarrassment to the King for refusing to make an appearance at his request. Esther’s appointment as queen was not just for status or promotion though. Her people, the Jews, were going to be annihilated throughout the empire as a part of Haman’s wicked plan. Esther proclaimed a dry fast for three days so that when she approached the king she would not be killed as it was against the law to approach the King if he hadn’t requested. God heard and answered the prayers of His people and the nation was saved. To this day, the Jews celebrate the victory of God’s intervention.
I found great revelation in the account of Joseph, the second to the last of Jacob’s sons. Joseph was Jacob’s favorite because he was the child of his beloved, second wife, Rachel – the youngest daughter of Laban. Jacob gave Joseph a colored coat especially crafted for Joseph which singled him out as the preferred and as a result stirred sibling rivalry. God had given Joseph a preview through dreams of several future events that would happen in his life. Joseph dreamt a dream of gathering bundles of wheat in a field and seeing his brothers’ bundles bow to his bundle. In the second dream, Joseph saw the saw the sun, moon and eleven stars (all symbolizing his parents and brothers) bowing to him. The special parental preference along with the over-the-top dreams brought Joseph and his brothers to head-to-head tension. They decided to put an end to this young man’s delusion and as a result, threw him in a pit. Following, they sold Joseph to traders and eventually Joseph ends up in Egypt where he was sold to Potiphar, one of Pharoah’s ministers. But God was with Joseph. He was promoted and became the chief operating officer for Potiphar’s house and as a result, Potiphar’s house prospered. And, though Joseph had to run from Potiphar’s frisky wife, and sent to jail for wrongful accusation, God was still with Joseph.
Spending time in prison, Joseph was promoted. How do you get a promotion while being incarcerated? Only God can come up with such things! The chief baker and the chief butler for Pharoah’s house were thrown in prison as well. They dreamed dreams and God gave Joseph the interpretation. Just as interpreted, the dreams manifested. I’m quite sure Joseph had his moments of wondering when would he see the manifestation of his own God-given dreams. Another opportunity came for him to interpret dreams of the king’s butler and baker who were thrown into jail because they offended the king. The butler’s dream interpreted that he’d be restored back to his office. The baker’s dream interpreted that he’d lose his life. Joseph asked the butler to remember him so he could get out of prison, but…the butler forgot about Joseph.
But one fine, predetermined day, the king dreamt a dream, and no one could interpret the dream. It was then that the butler came out of selective amnesia and remembered Joseph and his gift to interpret dreams. Immediately, Joseph was summoned to appear before the king! Joseph got showered and trimmed his beard – after all, he was going before the king of Egypt. Joseph interpreted the king’s dream (seven years of plenty followed by seven years of famine and advised the king to prepare by storing grain during the seven good years). Joseph was promoted to second in command of the king’s cabinet and was tasked with readying the nation for the upcoming years of famine. The famine did come, and it affected the world -- even Canaan so that Joseph’s brothers were charged by their father Jacob to go to Egypt to purchase grain. Joseph’s brothers appear before him and have no clue that Joseph is their brother. After a succession of dramatic maneuvers, Joseph reveals himself to his brothers. It was an indescribably, heart-warming reunion. It all made sense to Joseph now. Joseph was preserved to save the nation of Israel from famine and annihilation. What was meant for evil turned out to be for his good and the posterity of Israel.
Because God had a purpose for them, surely he had destiny and purpose for my life. So, it’s the end of a busy day and I’ve completed my last task. I’m feeling quite good that all went well. I get home, kick my shoes off and recline to the bedroom. My surroundings are calm and quiet. Without warning, a moment steps in the room. It’s just me, God, the atoms and molecules. No distractions or temptations can persuade me to switch gears and turn the corner. I’m not fearful. I know His love suspends fear. Where did this moment come from? It came from a place of gratitude and a vow to never forget the God who broke through for me. Instantly, I am overwhelmed with worship to Him. Hot tears flow like a rushing river and I open my mouth and respond with a cry -- or better yet, a sobbing that’s uncontrollable. I fling my hands up in surrender and then I fall down on my knees in adoration to the One Who is Almighty. He’s the One who taught me to fight the good fight with faith, prayer, praise and worship. He’s the One that assured me that His promises are yes and amen. His strategies seemed mysterious, but it caused me to get the victory. His methods seemed unconventional, but every one of my enemies were scattered and rendered ineffective against me. Yes, I am no fool having learned that murmuring and ingratitude would be roadblocks to progression – I willingly submitted to praising Him, applying faith in His word and giving myself in consecration to Him.
In this moment, I’m not sure how long it will last. Honestly, I want the moment to linger as long as possible. Then it dawns on me that He’ll stay as long as I want. He doesn’t impose; He doesn’t force Himself. This fellowship with Him is sweet and comforting. There is joy and strength in His presence. I begin with praise and remember his countless characteristics that rescued me from my helpless situation. I go down memory lane and at every junction I see that there were so many opportunities to succumb to any temptation to stop the hurting. Alcohol and any type of perversion would only numb my pain for a moment. Obtaining a gun to blow my brains out seemed like a great way to escape but I then summed it up as a suggestion but not a real solution. I really didn’t have the guts to do it anyway!
Nudged by Him, I open a file drawer from my memory bank and out comes the many times He rescued me from untimely, premature death. He kept me from harms’ way and made a road in the wilderness when situations seemed hopeless. He rocked me to sleep when the hurt was too much to bear. He heard me when I said, “show me a scripture that will speak to me.” He knew at that time, I didn’t know His word like a soldier should, but He answered me anyway. Suddenly, I flipped to that one scripture and it melted all of my impossibilities to the opposite side that says, ‘all things are possible.’ I prized that new-found word like gold -- rehearsing that word over and over until it became second nature. Now worship to Him gets intensified. Right before Him, I went from bowing, to kneeling – and now I’m totally prostrate before Him. Tears, snots and all – it’s a moment where only the two of us know that had it not been for His grace that carried me, where would I be?
I know Him as healer, peace-giver, the one who fights for me, my covering which is love, protector, provider, warrior, shepherd, teacher, father and so much more. He’s the One that knew me before my parents did. He had a plan for my life before I made my entrance into the earth. He’s the One that holds the key to my heart. He hears my whispers and secret petitions. He knows my desires. He knows my fears and with Him I can be the real, raw me – no masks, no facades. And why is that? Because I’m accepted in the Beloved. I’m loved genuinely without any strings attached. No worries about earning His love. I know I don’t deserve it. His love for me is one that is never exhausted. It doesn’t require a prerequisite. I just believe and receive. The proof was already manifested when He bore that gruesome cross for my complete wholeness on Calvary thousands of years ago. And though His sacrifice was for all of humanity, it is still personal enough for me and you. He is intimately acquainted with us and knows the hairs on our heads. He is the One who has a picture of us in the palm of His hands. Yes, this moment is intense for me. My desire for television and surfing social media have been disrupted by this Divine Encounter.
This moment is one where I am lost – but there’s no fear in this feeling. It’s because He’s here. I let Him in. So, I’m pouring my love on Him right now. My love for Him is sincere. Oh…what a Savior -- what a mighty God we serve. All might is headquartered within Him. He’s the one who doesn’t sleep, so He’s ever watching over you. He doesn’t get weary, and He doesn’t change. People, systems, regulations, codes, laws and weather patterns change; they are unreliable and unpredictable. But God is reliable, capable and is constantly the same. He can change anything for you. Though we may be bothered with time and deadlines, He isn’t. He transcends time and tells time when He’s ready.
The files from my memory banks are open. Though I stand in a place of healing and wholeness, never will I forget Him for all the wonderful things He’s done. I pull a file and open it. Out comes a situation that nearly took my life. It nearly slaughtered my identity. It almost robbed me of my destiny and purpose. Had he not intervened and healed me, it would have been otherwise right now. Though the details of my case stood upright in my face and sentenced me to total failure without remedy, He would not allow me to be swallowed up. I had nightmares of that terrible, heinous act of that night when as a child my innocence was snatched. I went into immediate shame and fear. I judged myself as chosen to be victimized. The one parent I depended on didn’t validate me. I deemed it as my lot in life. That particular night opened me up to fear, hate, anger, unforgiveness and I learned to function in my dysfunction. No one knew but me, the violator and God. It didn’t matter how long and how hard I tried to hide what happened that night, God remembered. He didn’t use it to condemn me. He remembered because He didn’t want me to live in what happened that night. He knew my future and it didn’t include the victimization of that particular night. He knew He would heal me and use that pain and turn it into purpose, but for the moment, He needed to hold me. Funny thing though, He uses unconventional ways to beat down and defeat my enemies. In my mindset, it would just be so cool to hold my violator up with a gun and shoot him until he falls dead. Seemed right -- seemed fair. But …. God had another plan that far outweighed mine. He knew I needed answers to my prayers. His greatest commandment is love. Love that forgives! Ugh! Why couldn’t it just be an eye for an eye? It’s because He came to show us a more excellent way! Notwithstanding now…if by any means, He needs to use one of His many unconventional ways to get back at my enemy – He will. But for this particular situation, His order was to forgive the violator. Really God? ‘Yes’, He said.
I felt like God had selective amnesia. Did He not remember what happened at that tender age on one summer night? Did He forget the emotional turmoil and torment that plagued me for years? It messed me up so bad, all of my relationships were half-sided. I trusted no one and feared everything. I was a slave – invisibly shackled. I was caged in and there was no way I’d be coming out soon. The snare of that fowler had succeeded. But God had had enough of my silent, emotional torment. He was on a mission to do the impossible which was altogether a drop in the bucket for Him. He picked the day, the time and the place. He set up the scene and shared the secret with His special messenger, a prophet. “The Lord used a prophet to bring Israel up from Egypt, by a prophet he cared for him.” Hosea 12:13 (NIV). My days of being in bondage to torment, fear and turmoil were finally, finally coming to an end.
When my secret was revealed, it made my head spin. The prophet said, “You have to forgive your mother.” I responded, “What…!?” Do you have any clue what she did? She put me in harms’ way and allowed that man to sexually molest me?” The prophet said, “I know. But God says you have to forgive in order to experience His true freedom and blessing for your life.” I stood there in utter amazement that God would reveal my private, hidden truth to a complete stranger. I felt like I had been emotionally hijacked. It then dawned on me that God doesn’t make exceptions. He doesn’t make revisions to His Word and His way to accommodate my particular situation. God uses unconventional ways to do what He wills -- and this matter was not going to be the exception. Step by step, the prophet led me through prayers and declarations of forgiving and releasing. All of sudden from nowhere, I began crying like there was a backup in my system that needed to be released. An internal rush of tears flowed like a river. When it was all over, that prophet hugged me. I walked back to my seat with the knowing and a feeling that a burden had been lifted.
It was a journey, but I learned the power of forgiving and it has released me from self-imprisonment. The freedom I now live in is unquestionably God’s divine intervention. I know assuredly that when I forgive, He forgives me. When I forgive and release, it frees me! My prayers and petitions are heard and answered. I’m walking in a manifested-answered prayer right now. Hallelujah. More worship…flows. Not conscious of the time or my surroundings, it’s still me, God, the atoms and molecules in this moment. I feel light and free of care. Now my heart has been sensitized towards others. Funny how you can be wounded, healed and whole and now desire others to experience your same freedom.
I begin to sing to Him and then it turns into a dance. I now understand the woman who brought the alabaster box of oil and poured the oil on the feet of Jesus and washed His feet with her tears and wiped them with her hair. She was looked down upon and rendered unacceptable and not fit for society. A disciple challenged her gift suggesting that if Jesus had known what manner of woman she was, He wouldn’t allow her to do what she did. Jesus very subtly rebuked the disciple saying that he had not worshiped Him, nor given him any water for refreshment. The woman’s sins were known, she just dropped in to show her love and adoration. In return, her sins though they were many, were forgiven – never to be remembered again.
I would be lost, hopeless and helpless if it wasn’t for Him. I had no clue what a song of praise and adoration was doing in the spirit realm. Later it dawned on me that a praise to the Most High God made my enemies of hopelessness and defeat clear away fast. So, let’s get back to the end of the day. Let’s add more cushion to that place where a moment steps in and it’s just me, God and the air molecules. I’m surely not in a place of ingratitude or regret. I am looking back in deep retrospect – with tears flowing down my face. My hands are lifted -- and my mouth is filled with praise and worship to the amazing God who was watching over me all that time, preserving me from all kinds of evil. All I can say is, God loves me. So, no matter what I went through, it couldn’t kill me! I couldn’t jump off a bridge. I couldn’t become an alcoholic or drown in self-pity and sell myself short. I had no other choice but to rise up and be all that God ordained me to be! Though my process was painful, I am alive, healed and graced to tell my story.
The day is done after a schedule of radio, magazine and TV interviews. After finalizing my project list for the many plans I have to help empower my community and the world at large, I am sitting here with nothing but praise and worship to the Almighty God. And…I’m very grateful and humbled to be having this moment. I then realize all whom God chooses are misfits, unqualified and come from the other side of the tracks but are definitely and undoubtedly vessels that God uses to display His glory. God did all the healing and the restoring. He may have used other people in the process to get me to this place, but in the end, He did the arranging. All my questions of ‘why?’ are now answered. All of my heart, soul, mind, will, resources, time are His. What a moment!